The Halloween season will soon be in full swing. Lawns will be scattered with scary scarecrows, wandered upon on by wicked witches, and covered from corner to corner in creepy cobwebs. Some yards will set the stage for a happy haunting while others will look like Halloween threw up. Excited children will try to decide what to “go as,” while perplexed parents craft costumes late into the night and acquire an overabundance of candy.
I find the ever-increasing amounts of Halloween decorations available to the general public to be both amazing and scary–scary in more ways than one. While many displays are brilliant, there are others that look like someone ransacked a dumpster out behind a Halloween store, and flung the contents all over their yard just before a hurricane hit. Not only are these displays trip hazards for unsuspecting trick-or-treaters, but it wouldn’t surprise me to ride by these places and see prison inmates–complete with orange jumpsuits and shackles–performing state appointed clean-up duty. Who knows, maybe my perfectionist nature just isn’t allowing me to see the artistic beauty of it all.
However, the Halloween costumes of today are far better than the lame ones available when I was a kid. I remember wearing pathetic looking plastic masks that always had a cheap, cheesy, stretched out string across the back, meant to hold the mask in place but never actually did. The masks’ material didn’t breathe, and neither could I when I wore them. These days, the masks are form-fitted, breathable numbers that look like something out of a Wes Craven flick. Not only are they ridiculously realistic, but almost scary enough to make you pass out while you’re passing out candy. At our door we see everything from precious little girls in intricately detailed princess costumes–which I’m sure their moms slaved away on for weeks–to the late night teenage ninjas who show up on the doorstep, not in costumes, but in hoodies–with blank, stares being the only things masking their faces–and say nothing while they hold out their grungy pillowcases waiting for you to add to their stash.
Most costumes are store bought, but there are many mothers who make their little monsters–I mean darlings–homemade costumes. There are two possible reasons for this: (a) they’re wonderfully creative women who can lovingly craft an award-winning costume that their children, and their children’s children, will rise up and call them wonderful for, or (b) their kid couldn’t make up his mind about what he wanted to “go as,” and when he finally did, the stores no longer had it. Any time I’ve ever made my child a costume, I’ve fallen into the latter category. But either way, moms will lose sleep, lose feeling in their fingers, and lose their minds as they sew, super glue, and staple their nights away leading up to All Hallows’ Eve. Hopefully, at some point during all of this, the moms will remember to head out and get some choice candy before the stores are all out of that too.
When all is said and done, no matter how messy your yard looks, how wrong your child’s costume went, or how stale that off-brand candy you bought tastes, Halloween is a magical time of year for our kids. So don’t wish it away, because as soon as it’s over you’re going to have to not only deal with decorating for Christmas, creating costumes for your little devils–I mean angels–Christmas pageant, and baking a whole heavenly host of holiday cookies, fudge, and fruitcake; but you’ll also have to shop till you drop, wrap till you weep, and feed your family an endless supply of festively fattening feasts.
Nothing beats walking into your local mega-mart the first of October—on a day when it’s 87 degrees out—and being accosted by the results of Halloween and Christmas throwing up all over each other. Never mind Halloween’s almost a month away, but can’t they at least wait till children break in their back-to-school shoes before being forced into choosing their Christmas stockings?
This time of year, massively confused holiday sections display everything from fiber-optic reindeer, to choirs of motion activated angels, to moronically huge, inflatable snow globes parked directly in front of cheesy cardboard Halloween backdrops of haunted houses, dastardly pumpkins, and chainsaw wielding murderers on the lookout for their next unsuspecting victim.
Call me crazy, but seeing piles of Christmas stuff out this early, joining forces with a plethora of Halloween paraphernalia—when it still seriously feels like beach weather—is just wrong. It’s also bizarre to see folks shuffling by in their flip flops with eclectic combinations of candy corn, fake Christmas wreaths, and sunblock filling their shopping carts.
The stores also supply everyone’s eardrums with a wide variety of confusing holiday music. While children peruse the costume aisles, trying to decide what to go as for trick-or-treat, “Jingle Bells” rings out to one and all. When their mothers find themselves lured into the Christmas card aisle, “Monster Mash” is drilled into their brains. No wonder so many people just say “Happy Holidays” these days; no one’s quite sure what’s being celebrated when.
I’m not really one to talk, though. There was once a Halloween night several years ago that I still feel really bad about. First just let me say that Christmas decorating takes weeks at our house, and I was just trying to get a good head start—the day before Halloween. At the time I saw nothing wrong with it, but my son Cameron, who was five at the time, was far from impressed to see a three-foot tall Santa lurking in the living room next to a huge light-up ghost. Not to mention the animated nutcrackers looming over the jack-o-lanterns, while “Silent Night” played softly in the background. The poor kid’s still not fully over it and will probably need therapy till he’s twenty-three.
From that moment on Cameron put his foot down, and made me swear I’d never, ever again start decorating for Christmas until November. I reluctantly agreed. I do admit it was kind of weird to see Saint Nick and the Ghost of Trick-or-Treat Present making awkward small talk with each other. Maybe they could’ve found a way to bond if they’d only gone shopping together in their local mega-mart in the beginning of October.
“When Halloween and Christmas Collide” is an excerpt taken from my book, Christmas Madness, Mayhem, & Mall Santas: Humorous Insights into the Holiday Season, available through Amazon and all major bookstores online.
I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt my personal spring fashion trends will be the hit of Paris this season.
Neat, crisp linen suits in pastel. Adorable flowery dresses. Cute pink handbags with even cuter matching pink, strappy sandals. All the things a proper spring wardrobe is made of, right?
Every year I’ll decide this will be the year I’ll embody that fresh, spring look–that look which says I just jumped out of an Easter basket–which can currently be seen splayed across the covers of every fashion magazine from here to Easter Island. I’ll delight in the notion that this year daffodils and lilies will glare at me with immeasurable jealousy, muttering dark things to each other about how I’ve upstaged them.
While the flowers are starting to bud and birds beginning to sing, I’m still wearing hoodies, leggings, and short suede boots—all in black. The purse I’m carrying looks far more like an old, tired book bag than anything even remotely close to a dainty designer clutch. Don’t even talk to me about my nails. Or my hair, which is perpetually perched atop my head in a messy bun which looks more like a nest. A rat’s nest, to be specific.
Nothing says bridge troll quite like the look I put forth this time of year. I can get by like this—pretty much unscathed—in the dead of winter, but once spring peeks its perky, perfectionist head out of the dirty, melting snow I’m doomed. This is the season where looking like I just rolled off the couch leaves me looking like not only did I just roll off the couch, but that I’m also a dirt farmer whose couch is parked in a dilapidated, leaky barn.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have some mighty adorable spring outfits tucked into the deep dark depths of my closet–only most of them date back more years than I care to admit–and if I dig any of them out to wear, I’ll look so insidiously outdated I’ll be instantly put under arrest by the spring fashion police.
Of course, I could go shopping and buy new stuff to avoid the rap sheet, but that would mean actually going shopping, and I loathe clothes shopping—especially for a spring wardrobe. It also doesn’t help that seemingly all clothing manufacturers think every female who buys clothes falls into one of only three categories.
The first category is that of the “younger set,” whose current fashion trend is to dress themselves in clothes that appear to be three sizes too small. If I throw the stuff from the back of my closet into the dryer for a really long time I could almost achieve that very same look.
The second choice is that of the “business professional.” Dressing up in uncomfortable, uptight office attire made out of polyester, looking like I ache to spend my day bathed in fluorescent lights, is not my thing.
Apparently the only other choice left is that of the “old lady look.” You know what I’m talking about–geriatric looking shoes, stretchy waist pants, and ugly flowery blouses that resemble short housecoats. Not going there; even when I do become an old lady. And in the spring, I might add, all three categories are mostly only available in pastels, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve never personally felt the need to dress like an Easter egg.
So instead of spending countless, unproductive hours shopping—when I could be out enjoying this beautiful spring weather—I will resign myself to simply wearing whatever I wear; even if the seasonal flowers do smirk and snicker at me as I walk by, while they whisper to each other that I look like a prime candidate for that creepy show What Not to Wear.
I just got a Yankee Candle scratch and sniff catalogue in the mail. Here are my takes their new scents:
Happy Spring – Smells like someone ground dryer sheets and moth balls into a container of Ajax
Peeps – Exactly like stale Peeps
Jelly Beans – Fruity toxic crayons
Casablanca Lily & Iris – This one’s actually nice; it smells delightfully purple
Coconut beach – Someone wearing cheap perfume burped and it smelled like coconuts
Guaya Coconut Fushion – Smells like someone peed on an orange
Island Waterfall – Laundry detergent mixed with root beer
Tahitian Nights – Someone spent the night sleeping in freshly washed linen sheets after they bathed in seaweed
Black Sand Island – Creepy aftershave from The Dollar Store combined with what could only be dog puke
Bonnie Daly, author of the hot new YA fiction/children’s book, Surviving Gretchen, Book One of The Storms of Friendship, talks about how her fictional characters defiantly formed their own Facebook page. Has she gone insane, or have her characters actually come to life?
When the antagonist from your book takes on a life of her own and not only starts posting nasty rants on your fb page because she didn’t like the way you portrayed her, but also has the gall to use #notmyauthor in her stupid little spiel.
This is war.